How Timing Your Fertilizer Application Can Make All the Difference in Your Plants

Amir Tajer

Posted on June 26 2018

Chances are good you know that adding a water-soluble, eco-friendly fertilizer is a key factor in soil health, but did you that the timing of your fertilizer application will have a big impact on plant development and resiliency as well?

When is the single best time to apply fertilizer to a plant?

If you were to only apply high-quality, water-soluble fertilizer to your plants once, the optimal time is during the peak growing cycle - that's when plants are either flowering, leafing out (for deciduous species), or generating new growth following a dormant cycle.

Adding eco-friendly fertilizer during this stage in the plant's life cycle helps to enhance soil health. Since plants rely mostly on nutrients from the soil, healthy soil means healthy plants.

In most climates, spring is when plants hit their peak growth rates, however, this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. Fall vegetables, house plants, and plants that are cultivated in a climate-controlled environment like a greenhouse will need to be fertilized in accordance with their specific development rates rather than a date on the calendar.

Optimize plant growth by customizing your fertilizer application schedule

To optimize soil health, it's important to match your fertilizer application to the needs of each specific plant. Applying eco-friendly fertilizer at just the right time is often the secret behind plants that really stand out thanks to their vibrant colors, full foliage, and lush, bountiful yields of flowers, fruits, and vegetables.

For example, Don Hodel, a UC Cooperative Extension Horticulture Advisor, recommends fertilizing California palms once a year in order to overcome the nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium deficiencies that can leave palms with yellowed leaves.

By contrast, growth in common fruit plants like strawberries and tomatoes can be optimized by applying a water-soluble fertilizer approximately 6 weeks after seeding, right when the plants are starting to develop distinctive foliage. This can help to both enhance growth rates and promote the development of strong, healthy roots.

With tomatoes, experts recommend applying a second round of fertilizer just at the plants begin to bloom and begin to set fruit in order to give the plants an extra dose of nutrients during this critical stage of development.

Is there a time when fertilizer should not be used?

While applying a high-quality, water-soluble fertilizer is unlikely to do any harm to your plants regardless of the growth stage, over-fertilizing can saturate the soil and lead to root burn.

In cooler climates, it's important to stop feeding perennials like roses by the late summer in order to allow the plants to move into their natural dormancy cycle during which the plants 'harden off' so they can survive during the winter months. Fertilizing perennials too late in the season can force the plants to remain in an active growth stage, leaving them vulnerable to frost damage.

Soil health starts with high-quality eco-friendly fertilizer

While timing your fertilizer applications can make a noticeable difference in the health of your plants, starting with the right fertilizer is the key to vibrant, sturdy foliage and abundant crops. Here at Greenway Biotech Inc. you'll find a wide variety of natural fertilizers that are formulated with the nutrients your garden needs.